Cambridge Associates, LLC Reviews | Glassdoor

Cambridge Associates, LLC Reviews

Updated May 17, 2017
272 reviews

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Full-time Part-time

3.3
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David Druley
15 Ratings

272 Employee Reviews

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Pros
  • Good work life balance and benefits (in 49 reviews)

  • The opportunity to learn is there (in 15 reviews)

Cons
  • Long hours (depending on staffing, 60 hours a week can be the norm) (in 20 reviews)

  • Manual data entry can be tiresome (in 15 reviews)

More Pros and Cons

  1. Helpful (9)

    "This is a true in-depth review of the associate job."

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Investment Performance Associate in Arlington, VA
    Current Employee - Investment Performance Associate in Arlington, VA
    Doesn't Recommend
    No opinion of CEO

    Pros

    - Cambridge offers those with no finance background the opportunity to say they work in "finance."
    - We literally have all types of majors in our Performance Reporting department and you need absolutely no experience or knowledge to excel at the job.
    - It is a great opportunity for those with low expectations, who are waiting to go back to school. or who wish to take the CFA for free. The firm pays for all three levels of CFA testing along with reimbursement for tutorials and such.
    - The work is also very easy and you often work 9 to 5. The culture of the reporting department is also fun because everyone is under 28 years old and it is very collegial ie happy hours and lots of joking around.
    - You also get 3 weeks of paid vacation along with many holidays to start (please see cons section also!)

    Cons

    - Absolutely no incentive to go above and beyond ie no bonuses.
    - You basically work for people who are about a year or two older than you which can create an odd hierarchy.

    - Here is what you will actually be doing:
    you will have 10-15 clients
    you will collect all 10-50 statements from each client's hedge fund/mutual fund/etf investments
    you will enter the market value, transaction, and return data into their proprietary software system
    once your "analyst" (the 2 year older guy) checks your homework, he will say "run the report"
    you will press a button and churn out the report
    you will check the report, your team leader will check it, the analyst will check it, then the consulting associate will check it.
    you will get edits and be asked to change certain things or rerun the whole thing
    you will send it back up the lines
    it will be sent to the client
    you will do this every month for almost every client or every 3 months for ones that get only quarter reports

    - How do you get promoted? Every "analyst" you gave a report to has to say "I think he's ready for the promotion." Then, if there is a spot open, you will move up.
    - And what does moving up mean? A couple thousand dollars more and you get to ask associates to do all the minutia grunt work on you reports. But, you still answer to the consulting associate and largely do the same thing ie checking reports.

    - Recruited for the job as if associates would be active in the consulting process which turned out to be misleading.

    Advice to Management

    - Give bonuses to drive hard work. Gift cards don't work that well for young professionals.
    - Stop recruiting from top undergrad b-schools! These kids are often overqualified and this work turns their brains to mush.
    - Hire kids out of smaller schools and community college, pay them less, and save the firm a ton.
    - Organize some interaction with the consultants to let people with real industry experience mentor these young folks (that's most likely the reason they came to Cambridge in the first place).
    - Make consultants, local professors, or somebody lead continuing ed sessions.


  2. Helpful (3)

    "I would not recommend taking a position at Cambridge Associates."

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Investment Performance Associate in Arlington, VA
    Former Employee - Investment Performance Associate in Arlington, VA
    Doesn't Recommend
    Disapproves of CEO

    Pros

    It is a young fun work environment. It was my first job out of college and it provided a solid understanding of different investment types.

    Since leaving the Company it is my understanding that they had outside consultants come in and subsequently made positive changes in the way they run the performance reporting department.

    Cons

    Overall I found it to be an extremely unprofessional work environment. They had extremely high turnover. The people who were your superiors were often only a few years older and their assessments were often biased based on personal relationships. I don't think Analyst take enough pride in their work.

    Advice to Management

    I can only speak to the way the Performance Reporting department was run, and in my opinion, when I was an employee, it was a disaster. Work was not distributed evenly among Associates and I worked many late nights and weekends without being compensated for my additional hours.


  3. Helpful (12)

    "RUN THE OTHER WAY!!!"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Investment Performance Associate in Arlington, VA
    Former Employee - Investment Performance Associate in Arlington, VA
    Doesn't Recommend
    Disapproves of CEO

    Pros

    The people at Cambridge Associates were very nice to work with. The average age of co-workers was probably around 25, so it is easy to form friendships.

    People who go through the 2-3 year career path tend to position themselves well for graduate school.

    This position helps to improve time management and organization skills.

    Free Wall Street Journals!

    The office in Arlington is in a nice location as well.

    Cons

    Where to begin...

    If you are a recent college graduate seeking an entry-level career in finance to learn about financial modeling, budgeting/forecasting, investing, etc. this is not the place for you! The Investment Performance Associate Role is beneficial to people pursuing either a career in data entry/administrative work, or who are using the position as a stepping stone to graduate school. Each associate is responsible for collecting various financial information from funds that clients are invested in. Financial statements are put in PDF form and information including MVs, monthly return, cash flows, and cash allocation is circled and then entered in a proprietary system. After the data has been entered and is corrected of errors, the report is ready to be generated. This process continues as long as you are an Investment Performance Associate.

    Needless to say, very little learning/creative thinking actually took place in this work environment. I felt as if I was killing brain cells every time I entered a number into the computer. The first job that you take should help to develop fundamental skills in the career you choose to pursue. Other than a paycheck, I felt this was a waste of time.

    The position also requires a substantial overtime commitment. I worked anywhere from 40-70hr weeks. There were rumors of people working in excess of 80 hours/week during the busiest times of the control cycle and developing stomach issues from stress. Employees are not compensated for this overtime and there are no bonuses for Investment Performance Associates.

    I could justify the monotonous work, long hours, and low pay if there was some sort of light at the end of the tunnel. Unfortunately, at Cambridge Associates, the light at the end of the tunnel is actually a full speed train on its way to run you over! There are no raises for Investment Performance Associates. You are stuck at $46k until you get promoted to Senior Investment Performance Associate that make around $50k. Investment Performance Associates generally stay in that position for 1-2 years, but I have actually heard of people getting stuck in that position and making the same salary for 3-4 years! Senior Associates are then promoted to Analysts which serve as a liaison between consultants and the Marketable Performance Reporting Department. In other words, they double check your work to make sure there are no errors before sending the reports over to the consultants. There are no incentives to succeed and do well in the firm.

    The turnover in this department is also exorbitantly high! I think about 30 people left while I was there. Unreal!

    Advice to Management

    Your business model, financially speaking, is spot on. Develop a "career path" of three years designed to filter through entry-level workers, while effectively squeezing your employees for every dollar you pay them. It is a win-win: Average salaries/benefits for the department will remain low in the department because of the limited career potential. The inevitably high turnover will bring in new energetic workers willing to do the same work for the same pay as those that leave.

    Yes, the point of a business is to generate a profit. However, it is management's responsibility to create an environment that is beneficial to employees of the firm. Many people that I have talked to have a bad taste in their mouth from working in the control department at Cambridge Associates. You never know who your next big client may be!


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  5. Helpful (1)

    "It has been comprised of long hours, very low pay, high demands, and little respect."

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Consulting Associate in Dallas, TX
    Current Employee - Consulting Associate in Dallas, TX
    Doesn't Recommend
    Approves of CEO

    Pros

    If you want to go straight from undergrad to business school they have a great connection with top universities. Harvard, Yale, Wharton, etc consistently recruit from Cambridge.

    Cons

    Dont ever EVER work in the Dallas office.

    Advice to Management

    none


  6. Helpful (2)

    "Good Company, Terrible Office/managers - Applies to Arlington - Wilson office"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Associate/Analyst in Arlington, VA
    Former Employee - Associate/Analyst in Arlington, VA
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I worked at Cambridge Associates, LLC full-time (More than a year)

    Pros

    Very easy work - could be done by 8th grader

    Cons

    Skills learned apply only to company and don't transfer to other companies or positions unless data-entry is a career aspiration.
    People are promoted based on office politics and not merit
    Micro-managing is extremely prevalent
    Department is known as a "sweat-shop" to competing firms/investment firms
    Low Salary and minimal bonuses
    Work is mind-numbing and could be done by a grade school graduate

    Advice to Management

    Reevaluate usefulness of the department


  7. Helpful (1)

    "So frustrating..."

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I worked at Cambridge Associates, LLC (Less than a year)

    Pros

    Their benefits are okay. But salary is a joke so that negates this Pro.

    Cons

    There are no exit opportunities if you work in the data/performance departments. Your only out is an internal transfer (where you'll still starve on the salary they pay) or getting a project management job (which will likely be unrelated to finance). I guess you can work at a fund of funds--but everyone knows that's a third-rate option. I made a fatal mistake accepting a position at this firm.

    Advice to Management

    Money. Stop starving your employees with your shoe-string budgets and stop adding insult to injury by providing employees with little to no marketable skills after they give you years of essentially free labor.


  8. "No real skill development"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Associate in Arlington, VA
    Former Employee - Associate in Arlington, VA
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I worked at Cambridge Associates, LLC full-time (More than 3 years)

    Pros

    work / life balance
    people are nice

    Cons

    mundane
    low pay
    not as much of an open door policy as they make it sound


  9. Helpful (1)

    "Not worth the year I wasted after college, provided no relevant experience to financial services industry."

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Junior Research Associate in Washington, DC
    Former Employee - Junior Research Associate in Washington, DC
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I worked at Cambridge Associates, LLC full-time (More than a year)

    Pros

    Atmosphere was all 20 somethings, so it was fun to be around peers.

    Cons

    Management admitted to not being intelligent, micromanaging, horribly run, took advantage of college students desperate for jobs and paid them unlivable salaries.

    Advice to Management

    Quit.


  10. Helpful (5)

    "Waste of Time"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Research Associate in Washington, DC
    Former Employee - Research Associate in Washington, DC
    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    I worked at Cambridge Associates, LLC full-time (More than a year)

    Pros

    Benefits. Excellent benefits including health, transportation, etc.

    Cons

    - Degradingly low pay. Even at the manager-level of the data department it is a wonder how they can support their families on their level of pay.
    - No exit opportunities. While you do learn many "soft skills" that's all you'll learn. Any other skills are Cambridge-specific according to their proprietary databases and utilities. Whatever transferable skills you do learn are very hard to show on your resume.
    - Micro-managing managers. In the Manager Information Group much of your time is spent on status reports for the next person up...who is spending much of their time on status reports for next person up...etc. etc. etc. At the end of the day you have managers who think they know about each employee but are actually naive. A non-hierarchical structure would serve the organization better. Finally, all reports go to the department head who is never around anyway. Once every six months you'll see him getting coffee before he ducks away into his office. Its basically like the department head doesn't exist--though he is worshiped throughout the department.
    - Awful performance reviews. To their credit, management is truly trying to improve performance reviews....but I've been told that it's been four years and they don't have much to show for it. Managers are not specific enough when it comes to what is needed for a promotion or how you can improve. They'll use some general language related to MIG's "values" and say how you lack a value. When asked for specific examples, they ramble off in unrelated general thoughts.
    - Misleading job descriptions. The word "research" is flexible but has a generally definable semantic scope. This position includes nothing remotely close to "research". Don't be mislead from the title--you will not provide unique insights into relevant matters. Process improvement and "self-audits" are NOT research!
    - Mind-numbing work. The good thing is that the Manager Information Group is gaining respect within the firm. The bad part is that this does not change the content of your work. Its true that the department gains more "business" from internal stakeholders...but it just leads to more abuse by the consulting and research departments who actually do work that is somewhat meaningful. Your work will be divided into three categories: (1) process improvement--related to the department's operations, tracking utilities, etc. (2) status reporting, and (3) data entry. The latter two take up way too much time for a department that prides itself for being efficient. The first, process improvement, is not nearly as exciting as it might sound. Basically, you need to constantly reinvent utilities and processes because management/the firm is too cheap to invest in long-term solutions (which would cannibalize our department).

    Advice to Management

    Re-think incentive structures. You'll need to pay up to have a decent back-office operation. 5% bonus cap? Really?


  11. Helpful (4)

    "Developer in IT"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Doesn't Recommend
    No opinion of CEO

    Pros

    Great work life balance, two monitors.

    Cons

    IT Management doesn't know what they're doing. They hire, lay off, hire some more, lay more off. Work here at your own risk.


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